L.A. Kings at Canadiens: Five things you should know
|Montreal Gazette 09 Nov 2019 at 12:40|
The matchup: The Canadiens return home after salvaging a point Thursday in a 3-2 overtime loss in Philadelphia. Claude Julien said his team didn’t have its legs against the Flyers, but that shouldn’t be an excuse after the players enjoyed a day off Friday. It was also a day off for the Kings, who are wrapping up a three-game Eastern Canada swing. The Kings (5-10-1), who have the worst record in the Western Conference, lost to Toronto 3-1 on Tuesday, but managed to secure a point Thursday when they lost to Ottawa 3-2 in overtime.
The goaltenders: Carey Price has been hot and cold this season, but he was the main reason why the Canadiens reached overtime in Philadelphia. The Flyers outshot the Canadiens 43-24. Price made at least three saves on breakaways and stopped Carsen Twarynski on a penalty shot. The Kings give up 3.94 goals a game to rank 30th in the NHL. They split the work between Jack Campbell and Jonathan Quick and neither has been good. Campbell has a 3.11 goals-against average and an .886 save percentage, while Quick has a 4.40 GAA and an .859 SP.
Canadiens’ Tomas Tatar celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins in Montreal on Nov. 5, 2019. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette
Bounce back for Tatar: Look for a rebound from Tomas Tatar after a subpar game in Philadelphia. Tatar was bounced from the top line after taking two penalties in the early going and contributing little to the offence, but Claude Julien said the demotion was temporary. Tatar has 13 points and shares the team scoring lead with linemate Brendan Gallagher and Jonathan Drouin. Max Domi has four goals and seven assists in 15 games against the Kings, while Shea Weber — whose third goal of the season sent the Flyers game into overtime — has eight goals and 15 assists in 38 games.
Killer instinct: While Price was the star of Thursday’s game, he received a big assist from the Canadiens’ penalty-killing unit. The Flyers had six power plays and were unable to score. The Montreal PK has been among the worst in the NHL, but the performance in Philly moved them from 30th to 28th in the NHL with a success rate of 72.5 per cent. They are just ahead of the Kings, who check in at 70.9 per cent. The Kings also struggle on the power play, where they rank 29th, converting on only 10 per cent of their chances.
The other guys: Anze Kopitar is the Kings’ leading scorer with four goals and 15 points, and he has 14 points in 17 games against Montreal. Tyler Toffoli has 10 points in 12 games against the Canadiens. The player with the most points against Montreal is Ilya Kovalchuk, who signed with L.A. last season after six seasons in the KHL. The 36-year-old has 13 goals and 26 assists. He had 16 goals and 34 points last season, but was a minus-26. This season, he has three goals and six assists and is minus-10.